PCMR v. Talisker: ‘Dear John,’ ‘Kind regards,’ Jack
Ryan Summerlin November 1, 2013
Park City Mountain Resort and Talisker Land Holdings, LLC have submitted filings in 3rd District Court disputing whether a critical February 2012 letter between the top figures of the two entities should be made public.
The PCMR side wants the letter unsealed while Talisker Land Holdings, LLC argues it should remain confidential. The letter was from Jack Bistricer, who helms Talisker Land Holdings, LLC, to John Cumming, the CEO of PCMR parent Powdr Corp. It dealt with the possibility of a new lease agreement between Talisker Land Holdings, LLC, which owns much of the resort’s terrain, and PCMR. The Talisker Land Holdings, LLC side claims that the letter is a settlement proposal that should remain sealed.
It was dated Feb. 16, 2012, the month before PCMR filed the lawsuit against Talisker Land Holdings, LLC. The lawsuit centers on whether PCMR renewed the lease. The resort says it could be forced out of business if it loses the case.
In its Oct. 7 filing, called a motion to unseal the record, PCMR says the letter "constitutes evidence of Talisker’s anticompetitive conduct and specific intent to drive (PCMR) out of business and monopolize the market."
The PCMR side’s filing says the letter should be made public, claiming it is not a settlement proposal and it is not "covered by the parties’ agreement to keep settlement communications confidential."
"The public’s interest in and the public’s right of access to judicial materials favor unsealing the record," Alan Sullivan, PCMR’s lead attorney, wrote in the filing.
In the Talisker Land Holdings, LLC opposition filing, submitted Oct. 22, Kara Pettit, one of the firm’s attorneys, says the sides agreed that "settlement communications would be treated as confidential so as to allow for the sort of frank and commercially sensitive discussions necessary to facilitate a resolution of this dispute." It says PCMR’s request that it be unsealed "can only be part of an effort to litigate their case in the media."
"The public interest in protecting the confidentiality of settlement negotiations far outweighs any value of cherry-picking one communication out of context to advance (PCMR’s) public relations agenda," the Talisker Land Holdings, LLC filing also says.
If 3rd District Court Judge Ryan Harris allows the letter to be made public, the filing says, Talisker Land Holdings, LLC could later ask that a "broader, more complete selection of settlement communications" be unsealed.
"Future settlement discussions would, of course, become almost impossible," it says.
The Talisker Land Holdings, LLC filing includes 23 redacted sentences or parts of sentences.
The Feb. 16, 2012 letter is seven pages long and written on Talisker letterhead. It was labeled as being delivered via courier. The only sections of the letter that were not redacted when it was filed with the court are:
A court date has not been set for the judge to consider whether to unseal the letter.